Telkom service delivery
BONGANI NZAMA IS welcomed to the
club of dissatisfied Telkom customers as per his letter “Monopoly must be challenged” ( Finweek, 8 February).
The telephony service in Vryheid, KZN, and particularly in the adjoining rural areas, has reached a low point. The frequency of downtime has increased and is longer than ever before. With the slightest inclement weather, the service is lost.
The underground cabling, overhead lines and the town exchange all require upgrading and modernisation. The system must frustrate the technicians, many of whom are excellent in their field and make every attempt to satisfy the customer but have to cope with repairing or rather patching a rapidly decaying system.
In order to report a fault, you can travel – at a cost – from the farm to the Vryheid Customer Service Centre and use the free fault-reporting phone. Alternatively, you can use a cellphone. Having listened to all the call centre jingles and jargon, waited for an indefinite time for the consultant and replied to the absurd questions, the cost of the cellphone call will never be less than R20 and this is not refundable by Telkom. Using a cellphone to report the high number of faults consumes a tidy sum of money every month.
And then Telkom’s inefficiency with regards to its follow-up SMS service, often received a couple of hours after reporting the fault – 10 pm – advising that the problem had been attended to even though it could not have been. The evidence – a fallen tree had broken the overhead wires.
Telkom’s Internet speed in the rural area is invariably between 6,9kps and 9,2kps and seldom reaches even 19,0kps while the majority of calls are dropped within one minute. In town, the landline speed is 40,0kps. On the other hand, the cellphone Internet speed is in the order of a constant 480kps and calls are not dropped. This makes for efficiency and cost saving for the user.
Therefore farmers are cancelling the useless Telkom telephony “service” and converting to a reliable, efficient and mobile means of communication where two cellphone contracts can be obtained for the same price. The loss of these customers to Telkom results in less maintenance, less travelling expenses, increased profits, increased packages for the senior executives who do not have their feet on the ground, increased profit for shareholders and the possibility of technical staff retrenchments.